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McHenry County family law attorneyAs children develop, they tend to learn the basics of life, such as walking and talking, from their parents. They also rely on parents to teach them skills that will allow them to become self-sufficient. However, parents can also have a negative impact on their children. In a home where domestic violence has occurred, even young children can sense the problems, and witnessing violence can have lasting effects on children of all ages.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence?

“Domestic violence” is a term that describes a variety of behaviors used by a person to maintain power over a family member or member of the same household. Most commonly, domestic violence occurs between former and current romantic partners, and it may include threats, physical abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, isolation, or emotional manipulation. Domestic violence is seen in all social, economic, and racial groups, and it can affect partnerships ranging from casual relationships to married couples. Whether intentional or not, the abuser uses their power to keep the victim in an unhealthy relationship.

The Effects of Witnessing Domestic Violence

Millions of children witness abuse at home every year. A child deserves a healthy and safe home environment, but in cases involving domestic violence, home may be the last place he or she would want to be. Living with domestic abuse may mean witnessing physical violence, hearing fights, and seeing the aftermath, such as bruises or property damage. When they live in a home where violence is occurring, children may experience a variety of negative effects, including:

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3 Common Divorce-Related Issues Every Father Should UnderstandThree or four decades ago, a mother was typically granted full custody of her children if she and her husband got a divorce. The father would usually be awarded visitation rights, and he may have been able to see his kids every other weekend or possibly a couple of days during the week. In today’s world, attitudes toward parenting have changed. Fathers are more likely to be given equal decision-making responsibility for children, and they have the right to parenting time. While this is usually true, many fathers still feel that they are not treated the same as mothers when it comes to the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. In order to protect fathers’ rights, there are some specific issues that fathers should pay attention to when getting a divorce:

Parenting Rights

In the state of Illinois, the courts encourage divorcing parents to come to an agreement on parenting time and decision-making responsibilities on their own. This can be done through the parents themselves or with help from a mediator. If they are unable to come to an agreement, the court will make decisions for them based on what is in the child’s best interests. 

Both parents are legally entitled to have a reasonable amount of parenting time with their children. If a father played a significant role in raising and caring for children while married, he should be able to continue having this same relationship with them following the divorce. The only reason a court can restrict parenting time is if there is clear evidence that spending time with a parent would endanger the child’s physical, mental, emotional, or moral well-being. 

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Posted on in Family Law

What is a Psychological Parent?, Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneyA psychological parent is an adult who develops a strong, parent-like bond with a child without actually becoming the child's legal parent. In many cases, a psychological parent is the child's legal parent's romantic partner. This partner might not be able to legally adopt the child because the child already has two legal parents or because the court feels that such an adoption would not be in the child's best interest.

Illinois recently passed a law granting psychological parents the right to be considered for parenting time and parental responsibilities by the court. One high-profile case involving this law was that of a woman who, claiming to be the child's paternal grandmother, cared for an infant born with opiates in his system for nine months following his birth. After a paternity test determined that she was not biologically related to the child, she sought parental responsibilities for him because she was the only parent he had ever known. After a lengthy court battle involving the child's biological mother, who had previously not been involved in the child's life, the court granted the woman full parental responsibilities on the grounds that she was his psychological parent.

Defining a Psychological Parent

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